Sunday, November 25, 2012

Patrick Henry College

Patrick Henry College was founded in 2000, one hour away from Washington D.C. The unaccredited institution solely exists in order to place Evangelical Christians in future federal leadership positions in the United States. And yes, despite what Wikipedia might say, the institution is unaccredited. In the U.S. regional accreditation is the only thing that matters, not national accreditation. Receiving any sort of 'national acredidation' is equivalent to me sending you an official looking degree saying you have met my strenuous requirements as an institution of higher learning by cutting me a check for a few thousand dollars. So while Patrick Henry College may be accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, they are not accredited by the DeMaio Institutional Association of American Colleges and Other Bullshit. The only good news here is that this institution (not school) has an enrollment of four-hundred.

A German reporter published an article in Die Zeit earlier this month about going to the institution undercover! (English translation here.) Many of the students are home-schooled. Something the author notes with a marked interest, because homeschooling is illegal in Germany. In the US the practice of home-schooling is often seen as backwater and is primarily reserved for religious fanatics. In 2007, the most common reason parents gave for home-schooling was a desire to provide religious or moral instruction. Which means that the educational reality of a significant portion of home-schooled children is similar to this:

Amrai Coen lets the school get off too easily. In 2006 NPR interviewed three audiogenic Patrick Henry College Students, and it is really easy to see with American eyes what a typical student from PSC is like.

At about twenty minutes into the interview a student states that the seperation of church and state exists to protect the church from state involvement. When the interviewer asks if it also means that a Muslim student should not have to participate in Catholic prayer in public school, the student stalled and said that he had not really thought through if that is something separation of church and state would recognise. At twenty-three minutes a student makes an appeal to complexity fallacious argument for intelligent design. Later on the female student talks about how lack of religion has created a moral vacuum in Europe, and that Christianity needs a non-hostile environment... because of course every one knows that the United States has always had Christians on the top of the "Who Are We Oppressing This Decade" List. Right next to Blacks, Gays, Lesbians, Muslims, the Irish, Japanese, and Native Americans. The visual equivalent of the bullshit these three PSC students spew would be someone vomiting feces that they've ingested back into the other person's mouth.

Paradoxically I agree with a point made by the caller at thirty-four minutes. About how he had attended Brown and that although the school was advertised as being diverse, "they" did not accept opinions of conservative Christians, and how can one claim to be diverse when they do not provide an open square for discussion? Then he starts to trail off about how no one's truth can challenge that of the Biblical truth.

Towards the end of the Die Ziet article, Coen wraps up my sentiment of the institution:

Könnten diese Studenten wirklich eines Tages Amerika regieren, frage ich mich nach ein paar Stunden und vielen Gesprächen auf dem Campus. Die meisten von ihnen kennen nur ihr Wohnzimmer als Klassenraum, nur ihre Geschwister als Mitschüler. Ausgerechnet diese jungen Leute wollen in die Politik, wollen einen Beruf ergreifen, der mit sozialer Verantwortung zu tun hat, wollen Entscheidungen treffen, die das Leben von Millionen Menschen bestimmen.
English translation:
'Could these students really govern America one day?' I ask myself after a few hours and  discussions on campus. Most of them only know their living room as a classroom, only their siblings than classmates. Ironically, these young people want to take a job in politics, one that has to do with social responsibility, and will make decisions that affect the lives of millions of people.

Students from this school DO get internships with the Federal Government, CIA, and FBI. If you listened to the NPR interview, or read the Die Zeit article you will know that these students are charismatic and professional. Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, is a student at PSC and she states that she plans to be a 2028 presidential candidate. Is it a far stretch? Arnold Schwarzenegger won California on the republican ticket. Do you think Miss America could be our first female president even if she was homophobic, republican, anti-choice, and an Evangelical Christian who believed the revisionist history that American was founded on Christian values? Maybe if the Republican party keeps up their "anti-woman" rhetoric, there will be only several positions Scanlan will ever get to presume in their party:

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